Blue Jays 3 - Orioles 0. Gritty Hustler + Veteran Presence = 0

Earlier today the Toronto Blue Jays traded for 24 year old outfielder Colby Rasmus, a promising young major league ready player who adds to a more and more imposing lineup. Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero is still hitting cleanup for the Orioles. Vlad went hitless today, leaving three runners on base and grounding into a double play, bringing his OPS below the .700 mark. If he were to finish with that mark it would be the lowest OPS of his career since 1996, when he had 27 at-bats and I was four years old. This does a good job of summing up where the Orioles find themselves at this point in the season.

It's that magical point in the season where hopes of a young rotation have vanished and OPACY crowds small upon entry, dwindle throughout the game as fans leave in the face of insurmountable deficits to seek life and love away from the suffocating air of Derrek Lee strikeouts and Kevin Gregg blown saves. It's almost August which means that by the third inning the players often have less hope than the fans, the umpires blow the calls and no one really cares, and often times if it's a win or a loss it doesn't matter because Alfredo Simon, Chris Jakubauskas, Troy Patton, and Kevin Gregg pitched, so Orioles fans lose either way.

The story coming into this game was that lefties actually hit better than righties against Ricky Romero. This led to Felix Pie and Blake Davis getting starts. Words cannot explain how bad this decision is, but numbers can. Felix Pie this season was 1-15 versus lefties, Riemold however has a .875 OPS versus lefties this year, which is about 600 points higher than Felix. Meanwhile Robert Andino who is 30-90 versus lefties this year got the bench for Blake Davis who is hitting .231. So, how did this work out for Buck and the boys?

Alfredo Simon and the bullpen pitched a pretty good game today. Simon gave up 3 runs in 5 innings while striking out 7. He was ineffective with his pitches but he is doing a good job for a guy who started the season in the bullpen a Dominican prison. Jack O'Boskie worked out of a bases loaded 1 out jam for a scoreless inning. Troy Patton   John Smith pitched a scoreless inning and Kevin Gregg threw more strikes than balls. The real story however was the hitting... or lack thereof.

The O's had chances early in this game, with a runner on in the first and one out they failed to get a run. Then in the second, Derrek Lee walked and Matt Wieters singled to start the inning. Mark Reynolds followed up with a 9 pitch double play. With Felix coming to the plate their scoring chance seemed to be over. However, Felix came back from 0-2 to get a full count. On the 6th pitch of the at bat Romero delivered an up and in fastball to Felix. It got past the catcher and went all the way to the backstop. Derrek Lee got a bad read on the ball however and couldn't tell if he should go or not. Instead of helping his baserunner score Felix stood in the batters box and took of his shin guard.  Most of the time when you see a batter wave a runner home, you sort of figure that it isn't really necessary, like clapping 3 dozen times after a triple, yet in this situation Felix being Felix lazy and inattentive to the game at hand cost the Orioles a run and a real shot at getting to Romero when he was vulnerable. Not only that, but Felix should have at least hustled to first, the right thing to do on a wild pitch walk. This was on the heals of a first inning play in which with a runner coming around third he picks up a single by Jose Bautista and throws the ball behind directly into the ground...

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_07_27_balmlb_tormlb_1&mode=box#!/video

Silly Felix! You are so bad at baseball.

With first and third and two outs, Blake Davis, in the lineup for his sure advantage as a lefty, flew out. After that Vlad would squander two hits by Adam Jones, one with a DP and the other with a ground out. In the 9th the O's managed to get 1st and 2nd with 1 out, to be fair, it was on a strikeout and a hit batter. Matt Wieters would fly out weakly on the first pitch he saw and Mark Reynolds flew out to end the game.

Story of this game? Three players who shouldn't have been in the lineup costing this team runs at every turn. But it's almost August, so it's a little to late to care.

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